Booktalk on Children’s & YA Lit: Monday 2013 April 8

Here we are at our latest SCBWI Booktalk on Children’s & YA Lit last Monday 2013 April 8. As usual, it was held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Figaro, 3rd level Greenbelt 3, Makati. In the photo below from left to right around the tables: Radamanthus Batnag, Donna Mae Batnag, Vivien Mangalindan, Beaulah Taguiwalo, Nikki Torres, Kitkat Torres, Michaela Sarah de Leon, JB Gamboa, and Tin Garanchon.

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JB was our featured guest/interviewee/speaker that evening. His first storybook illustrations are in Mapun, written by Carla Pacis and co-illustrated by Herbert Consunji, Jr., which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund to promote environmental awareness through folk tales from Sulu. JB has also recently completed a storybook on the life of Lino Brocka, titled Brocka: The Filmmaker Without Fear for Bookmark Publishing.

Prior to this, JB wrote, illustrated and self-published two comic books. The first is Laban!, about the love story of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. The second is Pacquiao, a comic biography of Manny Pacquiao which is available on iTunes and Barnes & Noble.

JB, who currently teaches illustration at the School of Design & Art of the De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, describes himself primarily as a painter and freelance graphic artist. Some of his favorite author-illustrators are Shaun Tan, Shel Silverstein, Theodore Suess Geisel, and Antonie de Saint-Exupery.

“My dream is for the local publishing industry to really take off since we have so many amazing writers and illustrators,” says JB. “And to win the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award someday.” He is a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, and is interested in becoming a member of the SCBWI as well.

When JB is not hunched over a desk or in front of a computer, he says he likes to go surfing up north. Our guess is that would most likely be places like Sabang or Crystal Beach in northern Luzon. His online portfolio is at

We are grateful to JB for being our featured guest that evening, and to Neni Sta. Romana Cruz for recommending him. Because of the interest generated, attendance was higher than usual, and the people who came were genuinely interested in the presentation, participated fully in the discussion, and contributed their own insightful children’s book ideas and questions. The discussion was wide-ranging, there was so much interest, so much to talk about, so much enthusiasm for various things to do in children’s books. Without meaning to, we went overtime, adjourned way past 8 p.m., and a smaller cluster stayed behind to talk some more. —BPT

SCBWI Philippines holds its Booktalk on Children’s & YA Lit every 2nd Monday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. at Figaro, 3rd level Greenbelt 3, Makati City. It is open to SCBWI members and non-members who are 18 years old or older, are published or aspiring writers or illustrators of children’s and YA literature, and anyone who has a keen interest in children’s & YA literature. It is organized by the Philippine chapter of the Los Angeles based Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). To find out more, email SCBWI Philippines Regional Advisor Beaulah Taguiwalo at or SCBWI Philippines Assistant Regional Advisor Nikki Torres at


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